Many years ago – when Caffe Molise in Salt Lake City opened – I had my first taste of a classic Italian pasta dish called aio e oio (or sometimes aglio e olio). It’s about as simple a dish to prepare as you could ever ask for. A quick and easy “sauce” of garlic (aio), olive oil (oio), and chili flakes is tossed with pasta and parsley – that’s pretty much it. In Italy, it would be considered sacrilege to eat aio e oio with grated cheese, but I confess to liking it with quality Parmigiano-Reggiano sprinkled on top.
- 1 lb. dried high-quality pasta, preferably spaghetti
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 to 1 tsp. hot red chili pepper flakes (you can add more or leave them out altogether, depending on your heat tolerance)
- 3 cloves garlic, peeled and finely minced
- 2 TBSP minced fresh Italian parsley
- Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (optional)
- Bring a large pot of liberally salted water to a boil and cook the pasta just to al dente.
- While the pasta is cooking, place the garlic, olive oil and chili peppers into a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Cook the garlic/oil/chili mixture, stirring occasionally until the garlic becomes a pale gold. Be sure not to burn the garlic! Remove from the heat as soon as the garlic turns slightly golden.
- When the pasta is finished cooking, drain in a colander and toss the pasta with the aio e oio and the chopped parsley.
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Originally trained as an anthropologist, Ted Scheffler is a seasoned food, wine & travel writer based in Utah. He loves cooking, skiing, and spends an inordinate amount of time tending to his ever-growing herd of guitars and amplifiers.